Thursday, April 16, 2009

Experimenting

I've been rather selfish with my free time lately... Time in the studio has been working on little projects/designs I've wanted to try for myself. Last night, I decided painting my toenails so I could wear sandals today was more important than beading. So, I decided to take you on a trip down memory lane - looking at different mediums I've tried over the years. I got the idea from Lisa at Lucid Moon Studio since she posted a few weeks ago her "to do" list. Here goes:

I think that once a jewelry artist gets up and running, we all think to ourselves: hmmmm, maybe I could make my own ________. Sometimes you find that some things are left best to the professionals. Other times you discover something new that makes you happy. Either way, with all the creativity out there it's sometimes hard to find a market for something that hasn't already been done and/or look similar. When I started burning my wood components months ago, I certainly did a search on Etsy to make sure I wouldn't "step on any toes". Luckily, I didn't find anything that could compare to what I was doing. Then, the next step is what happens when someone starts to do the same thing as you? They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but when it comes to art that's a whole other story. Sure, you can take inspiration from something, but..... well, we all know the ending to that sentence.

Anyway, about 8 years ago my first experimentation was with lampwork glass. I took a class at my local bead store in Wisconsin. Here are the beads I made that I have been hanging onto for all these years! Some are quite sad looking. As you can see, we tried a texture plate, how to create a "bubble" and millefiori. I think I'm gonna leave glass to the pros - you need lots of practice with this!
Just recently, I tried polymer clay. Of course I had to make something peacock, so I bought a premade feather cane. I carefully sliced it and set it into my pendant. I then used a pick to imprint the rest of the feather and other details and also some letter stamps. I went even further by setting it into one of my newest favorite things - a keepsake pendant. (Katie Hacker has a project in the most recent issue of Bead Style where she too "framed" her polymer clay)
I didn't realize, until I did some research online, that you had to sand and buff your finished piece. So, I used a real fine grit paper with water and then a soft towel (for about 5 minutes) to buff. Then I rubbed the brown paint in to bring out the details. (Disclaimer: this piece was inspired by a very talented artist so rest assured, it is only for me and never for sale). All in all, polymer clay was pretty fun and I'd be apt to do it again.
Etching copper was another project I tried this year, and it can be addictive! It's pretty instantly gratifying and the possibilities are endless!
The past few nights, I've been working with resin. I was so thrilled to recently win some pretties from Zoa Art, one of which was an empty bezel. No surprise I filled it with a peacock feather cut out of some textured paper I had! I'm glad I practiced first because it's very important you have the exact ratios (if you are using a 2 part epoxy), mix it well, watch for bubbles, etc... My first batch cured sticky - lucky I used something else. The second time it came out perfect. I didn't get the "domed" effect you see on some, but it's nice and even with the lip, smooth, and I am quite pleased. Now I have to make some designs with this awesome Zoa stuff! Anyway, I'd probably work with resin again. But for anyone not patient enough for it, I did notice that these bezels are the perfect size to glue in a very special button!
I've also done all sorts of other little projects over the years, such as: rolled paper beads, beaded beads, decoupage on a bead, etc... What do I want to try in the future? Maybe playing with some porcelain/ceramic at the Art Center. PMC, maybe? There is such a vast world open to beaders, and it's sometimes overwhelming and easy to get caught up/side tracked. My advice: stick to what you are best at, but leave time for a little fun experimenting now and again!

6 comments:

sharon said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Heather, I love your polymer clay pendant!! And your copper etching! I've been dying to try that, is it hard,it looks scary with chemicals and such, do you have a good resource you can suggest for info?
I enjoy making polymer clay pendants sometimes, but I get bored quickly!

peacockfairy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks Sharon. The first resource I used for copper etching was the book "Semiprecious Salvage". From there, I did some research on the internet. It's not hard at all! ;-)

sharon said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I have that book, they listed Radio Shack as a source for the chemical, and they don't carry it anymore, I'll check the internet, Thanks Heather!!

Lucid Moon Studio said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks for sharing all the techniques you've tried
(and the shout out)...it's quite impressive! I wish there was a lampwork class around here. The local art museum has classes on dichroic glass that I would like to take when I have time. I also want to try copper etching...I have all the supplies, just need to sit down and do it! I'll have to check out that book. I've heard of it, just never read it.

Lisa

peacockfairy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That's for the comments everyone! Sharon - I bought out what my Radio Shack had left. I have heard from someone else an online source is Rio Grande.

Lorelei said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hi Heather!!
I wanted to say that I got my necklace you sent me and it's sooo gorgeous! Nicely put together,and so pretty. I showed it to my sister who fell in love at first site, so I sent it to her at college. I hope you don't mind, but I'm sure I'll borrow it from her on occasion!